Mianus River Bridge

Mianus River Bridge
This is what our future in CT looks like if our elected officials can't figure out a way to fund transportation projects

January 11, 2018

CT Construction Digest Thursday January 11, 2017

Gov slams brakes on $4.3B transportation projects

By Bill Cummings
HARTFORD — The governor slammed the brakes on $4.3 billion worth of planned transportation projects, claiming poverty and imploring the General Assembly to finally allocate needed money.
The cuts announced Wednesday are across the board and affect communities from Torrington to Middletown to New Haven to Greenwich. They include postponing work to widen Interstate 95 between Bridgeport and Greenwich to relieve congestion, and adding lanes on Interstate 84 in Danbury.
A more than $200 million plan to improve the West Rock Tunnel on Route 15 in New Haven is off the table, along with improvements to the Merritt 7 train station in Norwalk, removing traffic signals on Route 9 in Middletown and building a new train station in Bridgeport.
Even routine highway maintenance and transportation aid to cities and towns are jeopardized. The state earlier in the week proposed raising Metro-North fees by 10 percent this year and cutting back on branch lines and other services. “It won’t end, it will get worse unless the legislature does something,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.
The governor painted a grim picture of the state of transportation in Connecticut and the toll it’s taking in terms of jobs and economic development.
“You can’t get through Fairfield County to get to the rest of the state,” Malloy said as he implored lawmakers to fully fund the state Special Transportation Fund, which is set aside for road and rail improvements.
“From Greenwich to Bridgeport it can at times take two hours,” Malloy said. “Hartford to Stamford takes two-and-a-half hours now. The problems in Fairfield and New Haven counties, and the problems that will play out in Hartford and Waterbury will cripple our economy. People are refusing to come to the state because they don’t believe the state will do what’s right for transportation.”
Still, the governor refused to endorse highway tolls as a source of hundreds of millions of dollars in new annual revenue for the state. But he conceded the idea will come up during the legislative session that convenes next month.
‘In a pickle’
The governor’s message drew mixed reviews, with some Democrats endorsing his message and Republicans casting blame on Malloy.
“Governor Malloy continues to act as if the state’s transportation funding problems came out of nowhere,” said Senate Republican President Len Fasano of North Haven. “But this is not a surprise,” Fasano said. “Over the last four years alone, Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats took $164 million from the state’s special transportation fund to balance their budgets. Governor Malloy then authorized a transportation spending plan he knew couldn’t be supported by the fund.”
Fasano added that Malloy and the Democratic majority are using the problem to force the legislature to approve new taxes and place more burdens on commuters.
“[ Malloy] has implemented irresponsible fiscal policies throughout state government for years, Fasano said. “That’s why social services are in danger, why our economy and job growth is struggling, and why our transportation fund is depleted today.”
Malloy, who spoke before Fasano was asked for comment, anticipated the criticism from the GOP.
“They have given ridiculous plans,” he said. “The state is in a pickle because it put itself in a pickle,” Malloy said. “When Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey were investing mightily in transportation, Connecticut was whistling by the cemetery.”
In Danbury, multiple DOT projects would be postponed indefinitely, including a $57 million plan to build ramps on Interstate 84 at Tamarack Avenue, near Danbury Hospital, starting in 2019. “When you cancel projects there is a lot of money for planning and soft costs that has already been spent that you are throwing out the window,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a GOP candidate for governor in November. “I understand the circumstances given the financial crisis the state is in, but this is going to hurt our economy.”
The cutbacks include postponing a $13 million project in Newtown at the Route 34 intersection of Exit 11 off I-84.
“Right now there is a bottleneck there, so they were going to change the configuration of the intersection and add an on-ramp and off-ramp to alleviate the congestion, and I think that is essential, because it affects commerce,” said Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal.
“I realize the state is trying to find nickels and dimes in the sofa, but commerce is the way forward, and if you postpone infrastructure, the price only goes up by waiting,” Rosenthal said.
Lock box
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said he favors creating an independent transportation authority that would concentrate on fixing the state’s roads and bridges. The authority would be able to sell bonds and install tolls if warranted.
“It takes the politics out of it,” Duff said. “This goes back to decades of neglect on our transportation system.”
 Duff also favored a measure that will be before voters in November authorizing a constitutional lock box on transportation funds. That lock box would prevent lawmakers from raiding the STF.
Senate Democratic President Martin M. Looney of New Haven said funding transportation is a top priority. “We are strongly committed to funding the transportation system,” Looney said. “We want to make sure major projects go forward on a reasonable schedule and are not canceled.” A list of halted projects included New Haven-specific projects and four with Woodbridge for work on Route 15 under West Rock Ridge. One large New Haven project is a $55 million New Haven Union Station parking garage overhaul. Responding to the announcement, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp Wednesday alluded to the postponement’s possible effect on the city’s long-term development goals. Harp said in a statement that the “ability to circulate people and products through a city or state is as vitally important to a healthy economy as good circulation is to any healthy operation — or organism.”
“Conversely, when circulation slows or is stopped the risk of stagnation and declining health increase exponentially,” Harp said. “This is especially true in urban areas like New Haven, where the just-cancelled, would-be parking garage — as just one example — is an essential component of the Hill to Downtown development project and its expected economic boon to the city.” State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport, said it’s time to commit to funding transportation “It’s important to address Fairfield County’s infrastructure improvement needs because it remains the economic engine of the state. Fairfield County’s infrastructure needs are the state’s needs,” Steinberg said. Steinberg agreed that increased traffic and ailing infrastructure are making Fairfield County less attractive to potential residents. “I wish my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would know how important it is to invest in infrastructure,” he noted.
State Sen Mike McLachlin, R-Danbury, said postponing the projects is “no surprise” and “politics at its worst.”
McLachlin added “The Democratic legislature and the governor have been robbing the transportation fund for years and that’s the first major problem. I look forward to the voters having the opportunity to vote for a transportation lock box. I believe voters will support that idea and that will make this kind of challenge less likely in the future.”
Don Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association, said the transportation cutbacks announced Wednesday mean fewer jobs.
“I know one contractor who is considering leaving the state,” Shubert said. “There is plenty of work surrounding us. A lot of Connecticut workers are down in the Tappan Zee bridge or up in Springfield. They won’t come back unless there is long-term work here. It will present some challenges for us.” James Redeker, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, said action is needed now.
“This isn’t a problem that can be punted until future years,” Redeker said. “Connecticut needs immediate action. As Governor Malloy noted last month, the solvency of the Special Transportation Fund is in doubt without new revenues. In real terms, that means we need to postpone indefinitely important projects today.”

Some transportation projects postponed by Gov. Malloy
    
Road

Description

FFY Start Year

Total cost

NHLBarnum Station2020$100,000,000
Local RoadCleveland Avenue over Rooster River2019$221,548
CT 130Rehab Br 02475 o/ Pequonnock River (Phase 2)2019$30,000,000
I-95Rehab Br 00105A o/ M-N RR & streets2020$21,700,000
I-95Widen I-95 between Stamford to Bridgeport (funded 2018-2021)2018NA
I-95Full interchange at Interchange 33 w/new SB off-ramp & new NB on-ramp2018$29,500,000
US 1 NHSReplace Br 00326 o/ Metro North RR2019$10,910,000
I-95Full interchange at Interchange 33 w/new SB off-ramp & new NB on-ramp2020$29,500,000
US 1 NHSRehab Br 00327 (Devon) o/ Housatonic River2022NA

Malloy, DOT: $4.3B in transportation projects ‘postponed indefinitely’

A total of $4.3 billion in transportation projects across the state, including work on Interstate 95 in southeastern Connecticut, are "postponed indefinitely until new revenue is appropriated for the Special Transportation Fund," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the state Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.
Malloy said that his administration will release proposals before the legislative session that — if met with approval from the legislature — would allow the state to reinstate the projects, according to the governor's news release.
"If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be," the governor said in a written statement on Wednesday. "I want to be very clear — this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system."
Southeastern Connecticut projects slated to be "postponed indefinitely" include $24.875 million toward the preliminary engineering associated with widening Interstate 95 between the Baldwin Bridge in Old Saybrook and the Gold Star Memorial Bridge in New London, and $60 million for safety improvements on I-95 from the Mystic River Bridge to the Rhode Island state line. That project included upgraded guiderails, illumination, signage and bridge parapets, and the lengthening of acceleration and deceleration lanes at various interchanges, according to DOT.
A $375,000 pedestrian safety improvement project to replace traffic signals at five intersections along Route 32 between Deshon Street and Benham Avenue in New London, and $11 million for mechanical and electrical repairs on the Route 156 bridge over the Niantic River are among the postponed projects, according to DOT.
Also postponed was $576,000 in funding to help replace the North Stonington bridge over Whitford Brook in Old Mystic, which has been closed since the March 2010 flood.
The towns of Stonington and Groton would have to match the state’s $576,000, splitting the cost between them. While Stonington has appropriated its share in its capital budget, Groton has not done so. Old Mystic Fire Chief Ken Richards repeatedly has warned that the closed bridge delays the response of firetrucks and creates a traffic hazard when they have to negotiate the intersection of Route 27 and Main Street by the Old Mystic General Store.
Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons called Malloy’s decision to postpone funding for transportation improvements across the state “profoundly disappointing” and “shameful.” He said the state had promised taxpayers that the money would be used to improve roads, bridges and rail lines but now is “being stolen” for other purposes.
State Rep. Devin Carney, R-Old Lyme, also questioned whether DOT had an answer on how to improve safety on I-95, if the widening will be postponed.
Transportation fund
DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker said the state "needs immediate action" to fix the transportation funding issue. "As Governor Malloy noted last month, the solvency of the Special Transportation Fund is in doubt without new revenues," he said in a statement.
Last month, Malloy called attention to a report from DOT and Office of Policy and Management that projected the transportation fund would head into deficit by fiscal year 2019 if the state doesn't resolve the problem, according to the governor's release.
Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano, R-North Haven, issued a statement Wednesday that said Republicans had "developed the Prioritize Progress transportation funding plan years ago, but Gov. Malloy and Democrat lawmakers ignored our proposal."
In a statement, state Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, co-chairman of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee, called for the state to approve tolls or "another revenue stream" during the 2018 legislative session.
State Rep. Chris Soto, D-New London, said by phone Wednesday that drivers avoid the state gas tax by filling up on gas outside of Connecticut and then add wear and tear to the state's roads by driving through.
He said critical improvements, like the widening of I-95, require revenue, and tolls are part of the solution.
"It's not the silver bullet, but it's part of the solution," he said.
State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, a member of the Transportation Committee, said improving the state's infrastructure is important for economic development. She said the committee will be meeting to discuss the projects on the list and other cuts.
She also supported discussions on tolls: "We have to look at a steady revenue stream that will deal with these issues," she said. "Every other state around us has tolls and every other state has people that drive through them that help them pay for infrastructure, and I think we have to look at that."
But state Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, said by phone Wednesday that before the state should even debate the pros and cons of tolls, it needs a comprehensive study that measures all the costs associated with installing and operating tolls and any ramifications on reimbursement from the Federal Highway Administration. He said that even if the state approved tolls, it would take years to implement them.
He said the state should focus on "first things first" and should not transfer money out of the Special Transportation Fund. He said the bipartisan budget approved in the fall calls for a redirection of the tax on motor vehicles into the fund, but it won't go into effect immediately. He said the legislature should have conversations to see if it could accelerate it without affecting the General Fund. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

State ‘indefinitely postpones’ millions of dollars for Eastern Connecticut transportation projects

The state announced the indefinite postponment of hundreds of transportation projects on Wednesday, and local towns are not exempt from the slashes.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redecker announced the postponment of the projects via a press release on Wednesday afternoon. Attached to the release was a full list of projects totaling $4.3 billion that are being “postponed indefinitely” until new revenue is appropriated to the Special Transportation Fund.
Postponed projects include construction and maintenence in Canterbury, Colchester, Franklin, Killingly, Norwich, Putnam, Sterling and several others. Many projects on the list include maintenance of state facilities and bridge replacements to the tune of millions of dollars. Other line items cut state aid to local projects.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy said in the press release.
Two projects in Norwich that are on the chopping block include a replacement of a guiderail on Route 2A as well as the replacement of a bridge over Cold Brook.
According to estimates from the state DOT, roughly 4,100 vehicles traveled over the bridge every day in 2015. Information released by the department in October of 2017 said the bridge is in “serious condition due to a leaning wingwall and undermining of the abutments.”
“If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be,” Malloy said. “I want to be very clear — this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
Ryan Thompson, director of Public Works in Norwich, said he is “not too concerned” about those two projects in particular, however he is concerned by the cut in state aid to the city for projects led by local Public Works crews.
On the web
The city recently applied for a $400,000 grant through DOT for redesigning Franklin Square. Thompson said the redesign process would connect Franklin Street to Main Street, and took officials roughly a year to organize.
“That grant was taken off the table with these cuts,” he said. “So this project is now off the table.”
However, Thompson said, he was pleased to find the state did not touch funding that is covering part of the expenses for replacing a bridge on Sherman Street. Though Thompson said the city also receives between $150,000 to $200,000 from the state yearly for infrastructure projects, and is unsure of the status of the money.
Further north, Sterling will be losing a total of over $5 million toward replacing two bridges — one on Cedar Swamp Brook and another on Moosup River.
Sterling First Selectman Russell Gray said he had recently inspected the bridges, and said they were “OK.” Gray said he would soon ask the town engineer to visit the sites to ensure their safety. Like Thompson, Gray said he is wary of state funding for town projects that are already in the pipeline.
“I’m nervous anytime the state is involved at this point. The state has put us towns in a pickle because of their own bad decisions,” he said.
Putnam, however, is facing the biggest cut to an Eastern Connecticut municipality. The town was scheduled to receive a $15.6 million renovation to its maintenance facility in 2019.
Canterbury is also losing funding for the construction of a new maintenence facility. The project, like many similar ones on the list, was slated to be completed in two parts. The first stage of the project called for the allocation of $643,500 in 2019, and the second stage called for $8.58 million in 2020. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Killingly council approves pair of power plant agreements

KILLINGLY — After months of discussion, the election of several new local representatives and a slew of amendments, the Killingly Town Council this week approved two agreements with a proposed power plant developer that could net the town millions in tax revenue.
After meeting in executive session on Tuesday, the council voted to approve tax stabilization and Community Environmental Benefit, or CEBA, agreements that, if a controversial 550-megawatt power plant is built, would translate to $95 million in tax revenue and cash flowing into the town’s coffers.
Tuesday’s vote was the first major piece of local legislation taken up by the newly seated council since November’s municipal elections. The previous council opted to table the issue after months of contract revisions.
New council Chairman Jonathan Cesolini, who had pushed for a quick vote on the agreements, was unsure as recently as Tuesday morning whether the council would act on the agreements.
“We had a few negotiating points that were dealt with Tuesday night and I asked council members if they had any major concerns,” he said. “These agreements have been in the making for a year and I’m glad we now have a guarantee on what to expect for the next 20 years.”
Councilor Ed Grandelski was the sole opposing vote on Tuesday.
The contracts are contingent on the NTE energy company building a electric generating plant — the Killingly Energy Center — on Lake Road in the Dayville section of town. The company’s initial permit applications were rejected by the state Siting Council last year “without prejudice,” but company representatives said they plan to re-file this year.
The siting council, not the Town Council, has final say on whether the plant will be built.
During previous negotiations with Town Manager Sean Hendricks and the former council, NTE representatives agreed to increase its initial $2 million CEBA proposal to $5 million. That “unrestricted” money could be used for a variety of environmentally oriented projects, including a scholarship fund, for water testing at Alexander’s Lake and to plant trees throughout town.
“And NTE was under no obligation to approve such an agreement; they just had to negotiate one in good faith,” Cesolini said. “Having these agreements in place make it safer for the town going forward than if we didn’t have them.”
A revised tax stabilization agreement calls for $91 million — up from $90 million — in revenue to be paid to the town over 20 years with more paid out in the early years of the contract.
“We appreciate the time and energy the Town Council and town manager have spent over the past year in negotiating the tax and CEBA agreements,” said Tim Eves, NTE’s vice president, in an emailed statement. “These agreements protect the Town of Killingly by establishing a fixed schedule of approximately $100 million of tax payments and additional funds from the Killingly Energy Center over the next two decades.”
What’s next
What: Killingly Town Council goal-setting meeting
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Town Hall

Malloy To Postpone $4.3 Billion Worth Of Transportation Projects Across Connecticut

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday that $4.3 billion in state transportation projects will need to be postponed indefinitely if the General Assembly fails to quickly appropriate more money.
The transportation projects at risk include replacing the Hartford I-84 viaduct, widening of I-95 from Bridgeport to Stamford, and revamping the Waterbury I-84 “mix-master,” the governor warned. Routine maintenance and transportation funds for municipalities would also be affected, Malloy said.
Malloy said he will offer his own proposal for new transportation funding before the General Assembly begins its 2018 session next month, and did not rule out highway tolls or increases in gasoline or sales taxes as potential options. Malloy said that, in deciding what new revenue plans to propose, he is “trying to gauge the legislature’s appetite to do the right thing… I would like to move forward as rapidly as possible,” he added. Malloy, a Democrat, has announced he won’t run for re-election in 2018. Connecticut lawmakers have repeatedly rejected tolls and major tax increases as solutions to the fiscal crisis faced by the state’s Special Transportation Fund. This is a legislative election year, which is likely to make it even more difficult for legislators to approve politically unpopular revenue increases in 2018.
State Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker said eight state transportation projects were put on hold in November to save $26.4 million. Another four rail and highway projects, with a total cost of $277 million, are now scheduled to be postponed in April if no additional funding is approved.
The biggest of those projects that could be put on hold in April is a $228 million plan to relocate and reconfigure the interchange of I-91 and Route 15 in south Hartford. An additional 16 projects, calling for $395.5 million in state spending, would need to be postponed in June if no new money is found, Redeker said.
Malloy said that, even if tolls were immediately approved, getting the system up and operating would mean the state wouldn’t begin to see highway toll revenue for five years. He said his proposals would include both short-term and long-term fiscal solutions.
The DOT is already proposing a 10 percent rail fare increase and a 25-cent boost in bus fares to take effect in July. The DOT is also proposing rail service cutbacks unless the legislature moves to bring in more transportation revenue.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy said. “If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be. I want to be very clear — this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
But the state Senate’s top Republican, Len Fasano of North Haven, insisted that Malloy and his Democratic allies in the legislature are to blame for the current transportation fiscal crisis. Over the last four years alone, Gov. Malloy and legislative Democrats took $164 million from the state’s special transportation fund to balance their budgets,” Fasano said. “Gov. Malloy then authorized a transportation funding plan he knew couldn’t be supported by the fund.”
“His goal was to damage our state to bolster his argument for more taxes,” Fasano said of Malloy’s transportation policies.
The governor rejected the GOP criticisms, saying the “three ridiculous plans” for transportation recently offered by Republican lawmakers didn’t provide even enough new revenue to cover essential repairs for road and mass transit programs.
According to Malloy, the transportation funding situation would be even worse if he hadn’t pushed through a plan to devote an additional half-cent on the state sales tax to the special transportation fund. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Malloy ready to stall hundreds of transportation projects

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy continued to set the stage Wednesday for a landmark 2018 transportation finance debate, outlining nearly 400 capital projects worth $4.3 billion that would be suspended over the next five years because of inadequate funding.
The alternative to deferring upgrades to the elevated section of Interstate 84 in Hartford, the “Mixmaster” junction of I-84 and Route 8 in Waterbury and hundreds of other priorities. the governor and other advocates argued, is for legislators to dedicate more resources to a Special Transportation Fund on the fast track to insolvency.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy said during an afternoon press conference at the state office building on Columbus Boulevard.
The governor, who has refused to say whether he will recommend tolls, gasoline tax hikes, or other revenue-raising measures when he presents his next budget to the legislature on Feb. 7, continued to play his cards close to the chest Wednesday.
“The plan will be announced when it is announced,” the governor said, later qualifying that to say it would be released before the end of January.
But he did hint he would consider an incremental approach and possibly recommend extra funding to sustain the transportation program for a few years — as opposed to decades.
Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said his agency already has suspended eight projects with a projected collective cost of $27 million.
Another four projects costing a total of $277 million — including an upgrade for the Charter Oak Bridge linking Interstate 91 with I-84 and Route 15 — would fall into limbo in April.
About 133 projects costing $1.1 billion are projected to be indefinitely on hold — absent more funding — when the current, two-year budget cycle ends in June 2019, Redeker said.
And Malloy also said capital projects aren’t the only part of the transportation program that are at risk.
Redeker said bus and rail fares could increase this calendar year, and preparations for February public hearings on these matters need to begin as soon as next week.
But the head of the Connecticut Construction Industry Association, Don Shubert, said a major contraction in the state’s transportation program could cause hard-to-reverse damage to a construction industry already in retreat.
“The construction industry is not geared up for fits and starts,” Shubert said, adding that Connecticut already has 1,000 fewer construction jobs than it had one year ago, and employers are struggling to overcome a “skills gap” with the workers they can find.
If the state dramatically curtails transportation construction, “We can’t just snap our fingers and get started right away,” even if legislators then reverse that situation.
Connecticut already has lost construction workers to competing industries in New York and Massachusetts, he said, adding that local contractors also are looking at moving their businesses elsewhere.
Despite that threat, Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, House chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee and an ardent supporter of restoring tolls, declined to predict whether legislators would support this revenue-raising option — or any other — in a state election year.
“It’s going to take a lot of will,” Guerrera said, predicting transportation advocates would press hard for action this year. “We were voted in to do what’s right. … Let’s put it this way: What’s the alternative?” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Malloy: Mixmaster replacement will wait

HARTFORD – The replacement of the Mixmaster interchange of highway bridges in Waterbury is among $4.3 billion in future transportation projects that are being postponed indefinitely.
The state Department of Transportation is still going  ahead with $200 million in planned repairs to interchanges that carry Interstate 84 and Route 8 over Waterbury streets and the Naugatuck River.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday announced that the DOT is putting hundreds of projects on hold until there is a solution for financing the nearly insolvent Special Transportation Fund. Malloy said he will make detailed proposals later this month for the legislature’s consideration in the 2018 session that runs from Feb. 7 to May 9. He declined to elaborate, but the options are limited, including electronic tolls.
In recent years, tolls have been getting their hardest look since the state removed them from Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway, the Wilbur Cross Parkway and a couple of bridges in the 1980s.
Lawmakers have to accept tolls as part of a transportation funding solution, said Rep. Antonio Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, the House chairman of the Transportation Committee. He attended Wednesday’s announcement and he said it represents a wake-up call.
Despite being included on the governor’s list of projects that are supposed to be postponed indefinitely, the replacement of the Holabird Bridge in Winsted will continue
The administration released a report last week that warned the Special Transportation Fund will become insolvent in the 2020 fiscal year.
The state Office of Policy and Management projected the transportation fund will run deficits of $38.1 million in the upcoming 2019 fiscal year and $116 million in 2020 that will wipe out its cumulative reserve.
The replacement of the Mixmaster is among the priciest components of the 30-year, $100 billion transportation modernization plan that Malloy proposed in 2015 because the crossroads of I-84 and Route 8 is considered one of the most complicated highway interchanges in the state. The latest estimate was $8 billion.
The Mixmaster must be rehabilitated to keep the network of stacked highways, bridges and ramps safe until the interchange can be replaced. The rehabilitation project is expected to start in 2019 and be completed in 2021.
The moratorium Malloy announced means all preliminary planning, design and engineering work on the replacement project will be halted for the time being, said James P. Redeker, the DOT commissioner. A prolonged delay is likely to increase the costs of constructing a new interchange when the project is resumed, he said.
The list of other projects being delayed include a number of big ticket items, such as the widening of Interstate 95 from Bridgeport to Stamford and improvements to the Charter Oak Bridge interchange in Hartford.
The announcement Monday follows the release of last week’s financial analysis of the transportation fund from the Office of Policy and Management and earlier warnings from the administration.
The list of delayed transportation projects released Monday largely coincides with a series of projects the OPM earlier identified as being at risk of being canceled or deferred if no new sources of revenue for supporting the transportation fund are approved.
Malloy was sending a message to the 187 legislators because projects are being postponed in every town and city. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE